Headache, Migraine Pain

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Migraine is not just a headache

03 Jun 2020
Migraine is not just a headache News image

Migraine is a complex, genetic, incurable neurological disorder.

It is typically characterised by any combination of:

  • Moderate to severe throbbing or pulsating headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, or smells

After a period of warning symptoms known as prodrome, the severe acute (or headache) phase of a migraine attack lasts up to 72 hours, followed by potentially weeks of prodrome or “migraine hangover” symptoms.

About a third of patients also experience “migraine aura” before the acute phase, which can include a range of unusual neurological symptoms such as pins and needles, seeing spots or lines, or having difficulty talking.

Economic cost of migraine

Women are affected by migraine more frequently and severely than men. Of the five million Australians living with the condition, 390,000 live with chronic migraine (more than 15 headache days a month), and about 100,000 live with rare and serious migraine variants like hemiplegic migraine or vestibular migraine.

More than 14,000 people are on Disability Support Pension because their migraine is so debilitating.

The economic cost of migraine in Australia has been estimated by Deloitte Access Economics at $35.7 billion annually. Per person, the cost of migraine is $21,706 per chronic migraine patient and $6,137 per episodic migraine patient.

Migraine Australia

Migraine Australia is a patient advocacy organisation founded in late 2019 to support and fight for all Australians living with migraine and their families.

Migraine Australia exists because we want migraine to be taken seriously in Australia and given our fair share of funding and services. We want all Australians living with migraine, whether they have a migraine attack every day, barely one a year, or anything in between, to feel supported and able to live a full and productive life.

Migraine Australia is working on a range of initiatives and projects to make a demonstrable difference to the wellbeing of all Australians living with migraine.

A language guide on how to discuss migraine has been produced by the US based Coalition of Headache and Migraine Patients (CHAMP) and is available at:

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About Pain does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment